■ Ohanaeze, South East govs expect positive result ■ Without his release, no dialogue can take place – Lawyer ■ Talks shouldn’t jeopardise self-determination struggle-ADF
Apex Igbo sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, yesterday, said Igbo leaders were set to meet with the Federal Government to find a political solution to the detention and trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
This is just as Chairman, South East Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, expressed optimism that a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and the federal team, would proffer lasting solution to several issues bothering the region in Nigeria, including marginalization and agitation for a separate state.
Ohanaeze had in its initial reaction to the disclosure by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, that the government was open to political solution for the release of Kanu and the Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho), lauded it for toeing the path of dialogue.
Malami in a chat with newsmen in Abuja on security challenges arising from the issues of Kanu and Igboho, indicated that the Federal Government could go to any length to resolve the security challenges in the country including political solutions.
He, however, revealed that the government had not been approached by any of the interested parties for discussion.
But in a swift reaction, Ohanaeze said Igbo leaders and governors of the five South East States had taken certain decisions that would be presented to the Federal Government. National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Alex Ogbonnia noted that the Igbo were not at war with Nigeria and have nothing pending before any institutional authority demanding a separate existence from Nigeria, hence, will embrace the opportunity offered the AGF’s disclosure.
“We are open to dialogue and Ohanaeze Ndigbo under our PG, Prof. George Obiozor has repeatedly said that roundtable dialogue is the solution; no amount of fighting will solve our problems, the jackboot can’t bring peace in Nigeria. The only key is justice, equity and fairness. Ohanaeze is in touch with our governors and other Igbo leaders, so, we will soon approach government,” Ogbonnia stated.
Quoting Obiozor, an accomplished diplomat, Ohanaeze spokesman said: “In a diverse multi-ethnic society such as Nigeria, issues of alienation, marginalization, agitations and inter-ethnic conflicts must of necessity arise. It is very appropriate that dialogue and other forms of conflict resolution mechanisms are spontaneously activated to address such issues as they arise.”
Umahi corroborated Ohanaeze’s position, indicating that the governors were reviewing report of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Committee on the issue and would soon call a meeting of Igbo leaders before their visit to Abuja.
The governor said: “We need political solution to the issue. Ohanaeze Ndigbo has set up a committee that has gone ahead to collate all the problems-marginalization and other issues. They have given it to us and we’ve shared it to the five South East governors. We are making inputs and by the time we do the collection, we would be able to know where we stand. We would hold another meeting and we will go before Mr President and say ‘Sir, these are the feelings of our youths’. I feel this is the way to go. I am doing everything possible to bring peace; to bring understanding, to let our people have a collective of voices into one and let the federal government say to us go to hell. Then, we come back home and say, what do we do as a people?”
But Kanu’s lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, has declared that no dialogue could take place until the IPOB leader was released.
In a Tweet on Friday, Ejimakor said: “Dialogue? Nobody can initiate any dialogue until Onyendu Kanu is released. This must be the first step, because it’s only MNK that has the vires to lead any dialogue. The release of Mandela from prison was the first step in the dialogue that led to ending apartheid in South Africa.”
Another leading Igbo group, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) seems to align with the position of Ejimakor. The group has advised that any negotiation must not be unilateral without consulting the IPOB leader, his lawyers and family.
Chairman of ADF’s Media and Publicity Bureau, Abia Onyike, told Saturday Sun that whatever discussion with the Federal Government should not jeopardize the self-determination struggle of Ndigbo.
“Two elements are central to the case for political solution. Nnamdi Kanu as a person and the Igbo nation as a group. Kanu’s opinion must be sought. Secondly, the Igbo nation may not easily bow to any political solution that will undermine the quest for self-determination. The crisis of the Nigerian federation has reached a stage where many Igbo are getting convinced that the only fundamental solution lies in the attainment of sovereignty as an independent republic under the African Union,” Onyike stated. (Saturday Sun)
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